European Union president Finland hopes to restart EU membership talks with Turkey before the end of the year following Monday’s decision partly to freeze the negotiations, EU sources said on Tuesday.
They said the executive European Commission strongly backed the attempt to open at least one negotiating chapter or policy area to demonstrate that there is not a total standstill in the accession process.
The chapter concerned would probably be economic and monetary affairs, a senior EU official said.
The move would be a test of Cyprus’ willingness to stop blocking the entire negotiations as it has done since September.
Foreign ministers of the 25-nation bloc agreed on Monday to put the brakes on Turkey’s bid by suspending eight out of the 35 chapters into which the talks are divided to penalise Ankara for failing to open its ports and airports to traffic from Cyprus.
It also decided that negotiations on other sectors would not be concluded until Turkey met its customs union obligation.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan branded the decision unfair on Tuesday but vowed to continue with reforms aimed at preparing Ankara for membership.
EU President Jose Manuel Barroso, in a statement issued through a spokeswoman, said the ministers’ agreement provided "a sound and clear basis for the management of future accession negotiations with Turkey".
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